Gov ups efforts to stop decline of Pangasinan language

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Noting that the number of Filipinos using the Pangasinan language is now continuously decreasing as gleaned from a recent survey, Gov. Amado Espino III stepped up efforts to further strengthen and encourage its usage in schools, homes and workplaces.

Speaking during the opening of the training for the pedagogy of the Pangasinan Orthography sponsored by the Pangasinan Provincial Government, Department of Education (DepEd) and the Komisyon sa Wikang Pilipino at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center here Wednesday, Espino said every effort to save the Pangasinan language must be done now for the sake of the future generations.

More than 200 teachers from various towns of Pangasinan tasked by DepEd to teach Pangasinan language to their pupils are attending the training to further learn and study the proper usage of particular words in oral and written communications.

Espino lauded the training program, whose ultimate aim is to save the Pangasinan language from dying or from being forgotten by the next generations of Pangasinenses.

He said DepEd at present is teaching Pangasinan language as one of the mother tongues among pupils in all schools in Pangasinan but so with Iloko in towns in the province populated and dominated by the Ilocanos.

But with the Pangasinan Orthography in book form issued by the provincial government to teachers and libraries, the teaching of the Pangasinan language would be better enhanced.

“This is one program that aims to bring back the Pangasinan language to the native tongues of the Pangasinenses, especially the youth,” Espino told newsmen.

Malou Elduayan, provincial tourism and cultural officer, noted that based on a recent survey, the Pangasinan language ranks third among the major Philippine languages today, topped by Filipino and followed by Iloko.

Explaining the decline in the number of people speaking in Pangasinan language, Elduayan sadly noted that in many Pangasinan homes, the Pangasinan language is often mixed with English and Tagalog (also Filipino), hinting that if this trend will continue, there may come a time when the native language is lost forever,

This is the reason the provincial government, DepEd and KWF (Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino) collaborated in coming up with guidelines on the use of Pangasinan Orthography to become the standard in the pronunciation, spelling as well as in writing manuscripts in Pangasinan, she added.

It can help DepEd in teaching the proper use of words to the youth which they can use as a means of communication with their peers, as well as in writing letters and manuscripts.

She cited that some Pangasinan writers are still using “oa” for some words in their writings when in fact the words should be spelled with “w” based on the Pangasinan Orthography as there is really the letter “w” in the Pangasinan alphabet.

“In tourism, the Pangasinan language is our identity and of course, our pride because it is our greatest heritage passed on to us by our forefathers,” Elduayan said, adding that because of its beauty, Pangasinan language ” is a language every Pangasinense should appreciate and be proud of wherever they would be.”

“The Pangasinan language, she said, is one big aspect that identifies a true-blue Pangasinense,” she added.

She admitted though that many of the Pangasinenses are speaking the Iloko language because of the province’s colorful history of migration in the distant past but they (Iloko-speaking Pangasinenses) should also learn and be fluent in the Pangasinan language.

“We say we are Pangasinenses but we speak Iloko, which is the language of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Since we are in Pangasinan, it is but proper that we should learn Pangasinan language and use this as a form of conversation,” she added.

Governor Espino and his father, former Gov. Amado Espino Jr., now congressman of the fifth district of Pangasinan, speak fluent Pangasinan and Iloko languages.

Corollary to this, Governor Espino said he will ask the Provincial Tourism Office as well as the Provincial Information Office to prepare a program where the usage of Pangasinan language will be done regularly or by interval in all the offices of the provincial government to further develop the Pangasinan language. LEONARDO MICUA/